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Toradora: a flicker of warmth in a cold winter evening

#12DaysOfAnime – A classic scene from an anime that pops into my name is the abrupt proposal that Ryuji made to Taiga and thus solidifying their relationship within the series, as well as its end. But ultimately, the show showcases a cast where each individual longs for warmth. How is this so?

Comrades of love

At the start of the series, Ryuji and Taiga meet in the most hostile of circumstances. They were originally at each others throats. But it all turned around when Taiga accidentally left a love letter in Ryuji’s locker, confusing it to be her crush’s locker.

As a form of response typical of a tsundere character like Taiga, she vocally declares her intent to kill her for what he knows. In order to tone down the tension, Ryuji suggests that they should work together in order to fulfill both of their romantic desires.

Both would help each other in their romantic pursuits. Thus, a collaboration was forged between comrades who seek love. Or probably, a slave and master relationship was created – heck, we can take it both ways.

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They’d do some crazy antics and plans in order to help advance each other’s romantic endeavors but to no avail – or worse, it all backfired for one of them.

As the series progressed, the two eventually fell in love with each other. But it’s pretty interesting how this all happened, for you see, it’s all a domino effect of interactions between the individuals of the main cast in the series.

Let’s talk about one character then on to the next.

Minori’s determination to find warmth

To start off, let’s take the case of Minori Kushieda – a girl that takes on many jobs for the sake of her future that hides under her happy, go-lucky facade.

At the earlier parts of the series, we see Minori as the usual airhead character – someone who would never hurt a fly. She is the engine in which the entertainment of this series, to an extent, runs on. A true comedian.

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However, as the story progresses, we get to see how she deals with getting into a good university, how she takes on multiple jobs in order to earn enough money for such dream. Probably one of the main reasons on why she hesitates on finding someone to forge a relationship with.

Despite her airhead character, she is the most understanding and perceptive out of all the characters. Acting dumbfounded and scared are part of her skillset, yet she maintains a heart of gold.

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It was later revealed that she, herself, liked Ryuji and was pleased to know that he liked her back. But with Taiga in the mix, she understood that not everything can go her way. She decided to let go one source of warmth for a friend which she deemed as someone who needed it most.

As well as also realizing that, in comparison to Taiga, Ryuji’s affection for her was weaker. She had to accept that – no matter how painful it felt.

Even those on high can fall down to the ground

Ryuji’s best friend and the vice-president of the student council, Yusaku Kitamura is a charismatic character who unintentionally attracts attention – especially the girls in school, though he tends to disagree.

This perfect model of youth has a weak side, especially when it comes to the romantic stuff. His admiration for the student council president is strong enough that it made me think, when I first watched this show, that he had something wrong.

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As protest to the council president leaving for better pastures of education, he becomes somewhat of a delinquent – changing hair, dying it, as well as cutting classes and breaking school rules. He would do anything to gain the attention of his beloved upperclassman.

Eventually he would have to realize that his “acts of protest” had to end seeing that he could not change his upperclassman’s decision. Instead, he would strive to be the best and catch up to her once he graduates.

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A few years ago, it was also revealed that Yusaku had feelings for Taiga but was rejected when he confessed. It seems that the tables have turned for him when Taiga confessed to him, but that would remain ignored by him for the most part.

I, personally, rooted for this character as he had so much going on behind him that felt much more interesting than the main couple. But alas, we only got a glimpse of his struggles.

Sometimes a mask doesn’t do the trick

Lastly, we have Ami Kawashima – a character that seeks praise and wants everyone to view her a simple, beautiful, sweet girl in order to conceal her true self.

In reality, she is an arrogant individual that tends to drop abusive language without any hesitation and she hates this side of her. Ami hates it so much that when she mistakenly shows it, she tries to apologize for her behavior and claims it to be some sort of a dual-personality disorder.

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At her core, Ami is someone who is just misunderstood. Her bluntness, although coming off as rude, is a result of her attempts to actually voice out her true opinions in hopes that others may see their errors.

This is evident when she tries to drop hints on the love triangle between Ryuji, Taiga and Minori without trying to hurt any parties. But sadly, the triangle does not seem to cooperate with her.

Thus, she is left to hate them and herself for all of their errors.

What they contribute to the domino effect

What’s essentially happening in Toradora is basically a web of relationships that link and affect each other is so many ways.

Taiga was initially interested in Yusaka, but as time progresses she realizes her feeling for Ryuji as revealed by Minori who also likes Ryuji. Yusaka also liked Taiga, but after being friend-zoned by her, he went and developed feelings with the student council president.

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So more connections and yet all of them have one thing in common: to find some sort of solace, some form of warmth.

As we go through our everyday lives, we often find ourselves confused on where we are, who’s with us and how do we get to where we want. But if you just hold on to that warmth, as these characters did, and learn to let go and find a new source when that time arises, you will come out every obstacle – much more stronger, wiser, and learned.


Thanks for reading the second entry for this year’s twelve days of anime. Be sure to check out stuff related to this ani-blogging challenge by searching #12DaysOfAnime on Twitter. Make sure to share your thoughts on this article and I will try to respond.

While I am at it, try reading some entries from my pals from OWLS. For the month of December, we are discussing about the portrayal of warmth in our favorite titles so be sure to check them out!

10 replies on “Toradora: a flicker of warmth in a cold winter evening”

ToraDora is in my top 10 all time best anime, and I usually recommend it, even to beginners. Its so great to see this variation of Cyrano de Bergerac.

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It’s one of the so called “gateway” anime so this show is a great recommendation for beginners.

Interesting to see someone say this anime is a variation of Cyrano de Bergerac. Can you explain why’s that so?

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Cyrano de Bergerac is a “help someone you care about to fall in love with someone else”, with the variation that both characters are doing this, without realizing they are suited to each other, and falling in love with each other as they struggle. Everyone else knows, but they don’t. Instead of a big nose, he’s got a gangster face. And like Cyrano, he’s not the person he looks like, but is judged on his looks. The steve martin movie Roxanne is the same idea, another variation of Cyrano.

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Ah, interesting. It is certainly as you said, both characters are trying to help each other out in love without understanding what they already have.

Thanks for sharing!

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Ah, I see, I’m just the opposite, haha.

Yeah it’s good, but I don’t think it’s worth reading once you’re through with the anime….

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